Twenty years ago optical discs like CD and DVD were very popular for storing large number of files. Many people stored all their personal pictures, videos and other documents. But as the times changed, they have now copied the data on much more modern storage devices like the portable solid state drives that have the capacities in the order of multiple terabytes. After copying all of the CD/DVD data to a modern media storage device, should you just throw away the CDs or DVDs? If you do then anyone can pick them and have instant access to your personal files.
This is why you should destroy the data on CD/DVD discs before discarding them forever. There are many ways of doing it. But we have the two easiest and quickest ways to render a CD/DVD useless:
Method 1: Scratch out the disc volume descriptor
The volume descriptor for an optical disc is located near the very center of the CD where you can see a small circular hole. You have to scratch this portion on the label side in circular motion 9-10 times so that it cannot be read. It is the yellow portion of a CD as shown in the following image. If a DVD drive cannot read the volume descriptor, it cannot begin to read the rest of the data.
Method 2: Draw straight lines touching the center
This is another way to make the CD/DVD unrecognizable. It follows the same logic as the first method except that we now scratch the other side of the disc (the shiny polycarbonate side). We also do not scratch in the circular pattern, but we make straight lines close to the center of the disc. You can draw any number of lines but 5 lines making a star-like design is the most popular as displayed in the following image.
The drawback of this method alone is that anyone can polish the polycarbonate surface of a CD/DVD to make it readable again. However, if you use both of these methods combined, then it becomes pretty hard to extract data from such a CD/DVD.
Method 3: Cut up the CD/DVD into many pieces
If you have a powerful pair of scissors or garden shears, then you can use them to cut the disc into small pieces. But you must wear protective gear before doing this. You have to protect your eyes, face, and hands before attempting this because the disc can quickly shatter into sharp pieces and those sharp pieces can harm your eyes or cut your skin. Cutting up a CD or DVD disc into just two-three pieces is enough for making it useless.
Method 4: Use a commercial CD shredder
These CD/DVD shredders are meant only for companies or larger firms as they are very expensive. They work just like a paper shredder does. You can push in your CD/DVD disc inside it and the CD shredder device can cut it up into tiny bits. This method is the most secure of the above three methods but is expensive and should only be used by professionals. You can read about the NSA approved optical media shredders along with the contact information from https://www.nsa.gov/portals/75/documents/resources/everyone/media-destruction/NSAEPL%20Optical%20Destruction%20Devices%20%2011-06-18.pdf?ver=2018-12-12-122121-663.